In the heart of Asia lies Singapore - a bustling, world-class city state that has made waves around the world for its business excellence, connectivity to the world and its innovation.
Singapore has been consistently acknowledged as a global business hub – one that features developed infrastructure, political stability, open business policies, a skilled workforce, the use of English as the main working language and respect for intellectual property rights.
Many multinational companies have chosen to set up their bases in Singapore, next to 187,700 small and medium enterprises. Business owners all over the world regard Singapore as an ideal location to grow their businesses, with many of them using the country as a springboard to tap into other emerging markets in Asia.
English is the medium of education and business – it is the first language taught in school and the main language used in the workplace. In addition to learning English, students study their mother tongue - Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil - in school to ensure that they maintain their cultural heritage. Most Singaporeans are therefore bilingual, if not multi-lingual.
The predominant usage of English means expatriates and foreigners living in Singapore find it is one of the most easily adaptable countries in Asia.
Types of banks
The three local banks in Singapore are also Southeast Asia’s largest:
- DBS Bank Ltd
- OCBC Bank
- United Overseas Bank Ltd
Other leading consumer banks (foreign) in Singapore include:
- ABN AMRO
- Standard Chartered.
Opening an account
Only citizens, permanent residents and those holding employment passes are able to open a bank account in Singapore. As an adult you can also open a bank account with student pass. Usually, a completed application form, passport, employment pass and proof of mailing address are required to open an account. It’s advisable to call the bank beforehand to be sure.
Each bank has different requirements for opening an account, with differing minimum balances and service charges. For savings or current accounts, you will usually receive a cheque book, an ATM card and a PIN for online or phone banking.
Most banks offer the following services:
- Savings/current accounts
- Fixed deposits
- Mutual funds or trusts
- NETS (cash withdrawal) cards that allow for electronic payment for goods and services
- Credit card facilities
- Crediting foreign checks